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Spicy Ideas: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

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It’s the eve of a new decade, video is all around us, and I still can’t find what I want! My refrigerator can stream Netflix, and I can upload videos to YouTube from my coffee maker, but video search is still in its infancy. So what will it take to move video search from the Stone Age to the digital era and beyond?

In the Beginning

To start with, there are currently a wide variety of video search tools. Some of them are better than others, but they are all based on text, recommendations, or categorizations.

Google, the 800-pound gorilla in both video and search, has several helpful tools. But they are all based off of the same search algorithm. Even the brand-new Google TV search appears to be a slightly modded version of the original.

Blinkx.com has its Wall It button, which allows you to view and embed a wall of videos related to your text search term. I find this very useful for getting a quick visual overview for a news term, but it can become a bit overwhelming.

Sites such as Truveo.com can give you other interesting ways to find videos, such as the most popular video on Twitter at this very moment. Not surprisingly, that appears to be a Justin Beiber clip. Not exactly what I was looking for.

Not to be outdone by upstarts or gorillas, Microsoft’s Bing has a nice selection of “popular search” options on its Bing.com/videos site. A mouseover gives you instant playback.

CastTV.com shows some amazing promise with blended search results from YouTube, CNN, Amazon, and more. A search for British comedian and actor Stephen Fry pulls up news clips, viral videos, and episodes of his popular shows on Hulu and even Netflix. Mixed results make sense for our platform-agnostic lifestyles.

The list of video search tools continues with Ramp.com offering custom solutions for companies with large libraries of video content. VideoSurf.com and ClipBlast.com offer up more options for embedding and social interaction with their videos.

The End

Even with all the innovation these sites offer, it still feels like I am missing something. 

Why can’t we come up with an awesome, blow-your-socks-off video search engine? Then it hit me …

The internet was never designed as a platform for video. In 1974 when the internet was born, no one thought that 36 years later we would be sending gigabytes of HD footage to devices around the world. Using the internet to deliver and search for video is like Apple sending out iPhone 4 software updates via Pony Express. The basic structure and platform we are using to consume visual data is an outdated system originally used for sending text messages between universities. No wonder we have so many issues.

So what do we do? First, we use what we have. There are some great minds that continue to create radical new search methods within the confines of our current structure. They will grow and change with our viewing habits. Second, we need to look at other structures for video delivery and search. Discussions have been going on for years about a new internet system that will focus on providing multimedia content. 

I imagine a time when a screen capture of my current show pulls up other related content that I would be interested in watching, no text input required. So until then, we will have to be happy with what we have. Now, if you will excuse me, my dishwasher just sent me a text message … the latest episode of Saturday Night Live is up on Hulu.

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